I must be the world’s best father and grandfather.
Many of you know the mantra I live by: “If it snows, Nick goes.” But we had snow here in Show Low Wednesday night, and I’m still here. I tell you, that daughter and those beautiful little granddaughters of mine sure have me hooked.
Fortunately, we only got a dusting, and by noon yesterday it had melted off. Here in Arizona’s high country, you can never be too sure about the weather this time of year. One of the worst snowstorms I ever saw here was on Mother’s Day years ago. A friend was visiting me from Tucson, and he was stuck for two days until the roads were cleared.
I want to alert any veterans out there in cyberspace to a telephone call I received yesterday, in the hope of helping you avoid getting scammed. A woman called and asked if I was Nick Russell. When I said I was, she said she was from the Veterans Administration Health Care System and was calling about my V.A. medical care eligibility.
Immediately alarm bells went off in my head, because my legal name is Paul, not Nick. (I’ve been called Nick most of my life, it was a nickname an uncle gave me years ago.) Nobody in the V.A. would call me Nick.
The woman asked when was the last time I had visited a V.A. hospital, and I told her it was last October, in Lexington, Kentucky. She then asked if I was satisfied with the care I had received, and I told her yes.
The she said she needed to verify the information she had in my files, and asked me for my Social Security number. More alarm bells. Nobody calling from the V.A. would ask for my Social Security. They already have it, and when I call to schedule an appointment or get a prescription refilled, all they ask for are the last four digits. More alarms went off, and I told her I was not comfortable giving that information out over the telephone.
She then asked for my bank account numbers and bank balances. I told her I was not giving out that information either, and she said if I didn’t, my V.A. benefits would be cancelled. I asked to speak to her supervisor, and after telling me several times that I had to answer her questions or lose my benefits, she said she was putting me on hold, and the line went dead. I checked my phone, and the number she had called from was listed as Unavailable.
It was obviously a scam, and I will be reporting it to the V.A. security folks this morning. You can’t be too careful these days. There are a lot of crooks out there trying to take advantage of whoever they can.
The V.A. will never ask you for personal or financial information in an unsolicited telephone call. If you get such a call, do not tell them anything, and hang up the phone. We all work too hard for what little bit of money we may have, and we darned sure don’t want to give it to some thief.
Thought For The Day – A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.